Clive’s Christmas

My friend, Vincent Wong, just finished this cute animation, “Clive’s Christmas,” in time for XTREMEMAS! The crazy bastard animated this all himself. My other friend, John Shryock, provided all the music and sound effects. I worked with both of these guys on C-47. In fact, everyone involved, including the lovely ladies who provided voices, worked on C-47.

I have a feeling this rag tag crew of assembled misfits will produce much future greatness.

C-47 Trailer

Great gugga mugga, the trailer is finally done! This is the trailer for C-47, an independent sci-fi production that I worked on waaaaay back in the summer. We finally got the trailer ready for public gawking so here it is! We shot the whole thing on the RED which is just a sexy beast of a camera. We didn’t have anywhere close to the money that the Turbo guys did, but I’m hoping that doesn’t show.

Alright folks, time to be brutally honest. Is C-47 something you’d want to watch?

And Cut! That’s a Wrap!

Sorry I wasn’t here yesterday, but I got home at 6 in the morning and just slept for a good part of the day. But principal photography on C-47 is complete!

This last weekend of filming was a bit crazy. We had a fight scene to pickup and two to reshoot along with more *groan* green screen elements. We were all kind of expecting late nights but that never makes it easy. We did somehow manage to wrap before midnight on Friday which we’ve only managed to do one other day. And we got all the shots we needed without having to extend shooting to another weekend.

Now the real work begins. All those shots with green screen must be tracked and keyed so that we can add our CG trickery. And our trickery must look as good as the footage. Thanks to the RED, everything we shot on a practical set looks absolutely amazing. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

It was an exhausting experience. But I learned a hell of a lot. I can’t imagine working on shoots like this for a living. I don’t think I have that kind of stamina. But it was a lot of fun meeting and working with our cast and crew. Can’t wait for the wrap party!

Last Weekend of Shooting C-47

I won’t be blogging tomorrow since I’ll be on set all day so I’ll see you all on Monday.

This is our last weekend on set. It’s only the third weekend, but it feels like I’ve been in that damn warehouse for freaking ever. Last night I went up to finish the big mural with Anges, Leslie, and Frank. Time just slips away at the warehouse. We got there at 7pm and the next time anyone thought to ask what time it was, it was already 1am. We’d been working for six hours and hardly noticed! Finally finished painting at 2am and headed home.

Last weekend we were fortunate enough to have two cameras on set. How in the hell we managed to get two REDs at the same time is beyond me. For the most part, A camera and B camera shot the same stuff from different angles so Mason would have some coverage to cut with. This weekend, B camera is with me shooting green screen elements. This means we need extras. But don’t think you’ll be sitting around at craft services all day. We need a number of insert elements that our digital team will use to fill out the rest of the market place when we start our CG extensions. We could clone the crowd that was already there, but that’s not fun. And it’ll look wonky. So B camera and I will be filming extras in front of big green screen the entire weekend. If you’re free and you live near Baltimore, check out the extra call at our site for more information.

Rumor has it that there will be a garden on set made with actual sod courtesy of brilliant and multi talented Michelle Lawless. She and Curtis Thompson have been building amazing sets that continue to blow me away. They look impressive with the work lights on, but when they’re properly lit for film, holy crap, it’s like I’m walking in the FEWCHURE! Back the sod, the original plan was to put down this plastic turf stuff for the garden. But this is the RED we’re talking about. Plastic grass will look like plastic grass. Michelle decided the RED deserved to film better and managed to get us a shit ton of sod with real grass to build this garden. There’s also going to be a pond with caustics bouncing around which completely blows my tiny mind. I can’t freaking wait.

There are more production photos that have been going up on Facebook. I’ll try to grab some and get permission to post them on the blog so you can all witness the madness. I’m actually quite glad we have Facebook. It’ll be sad to see everyone on the last day of set, but with the FB we can virtually stalk each other which is kind of like keeping in touch. Kinda.

I Was Cast as a C-47 Concubot and All I Got Was This Bloody Tshirt

Our feature Concubot, Alicia Lazaris, has posted some photos documenting the horrible things we’re doing to her. They’re called Pleasure Bots in the script, but I like the term Concubot better. Actually, Yuko coined the term when she and Ananth came up to help me paint. But enough jibba jabba, on to the photos!

C-47 Mural

This is a little segment of the giant mural I’m working on. I’ve got to finish this bastard by June 20 and there’s a lot more to go. This particular section was painted by Agnes Asplund who’s part of our visual effects team. She’s a traditionally trained painter and it shows. So awesome. Now I just have to make the rest of the thing look as awesome.

Curtis working on set

This is Curtis Thompson, our Art Director. He has what we like to call, mad skills. I’ve yet to see him ever get upset even when he’s under the gun. Here he is making the temple arch look beautiful. Guess who gets to digitally extend that bastard and make it look bigger.

Alicia and Zehra

That’s Zehra Fazal on the left standing next to Alicia. Zehra is our female lead and knows more Japanese than I do. And I’m half Japanese! *sob* She’s a featured artist at the Capital Fringe Fest which should indicate that she, as well, comes with mad skills.

Alicia and Mason

On the right we have Mason Booker, our esteemed director, painting blood all over Alicia. Mason is a sick, sick fuck and should be avoided at all costs. j/k. None of this would be possible without Mason’s vision and the quality of people working on this show is a true testament to his awesomeness. He’s now sporting a mohawk which I hope to get a photo of soon.

Alicia bloody

Poor Alicia. All tied up and bloody. What kind of pic are we making? Alicia stayed in that corner for over four hours waiting for her shot. She didn’t complain. Didn’t whine. Didn’t faint. She stood there and stuck it out! She deserves a medal.

Looks like fun, eh? Well, if you want to get in on the action and you live near Baltimore, you can come out and be an extra! Head on over to the website for directions, call time, and costuming instructions if you’re interested. We’ll feed you and amuse you with our off camera antics and pantless documentary filming.

The Invincible Pantless Production Assistant

Josh Haslup is one of the Art Department’s PAs (Production Assistant) which means he’s around to build and dress sets. He’s one of the most helpful PAs on set willing to help any department that needs an extra set of hands. He is also invincible.

Last Friday was wet and disgusting. It rained all day and all night. And since we’re filming in the middle of nowhere Maryland, the roads were all kinds of slick. Josh was sent out to pick up some equipment for the shoot and on his way back he hit a really wet patch of road and ran off the side into a ditch. He wasn’t the only one. Moments after, another car slipped at the same spot and ditched next to him. A third car slipped and smashed Josh’s car. One of those other two cars nearly killed Josh. But did he shit his pants? Did he run crying to the hospital? Did run home and hide under his bed for fear of rabid cars coming to attack him in his sleep? NAY! Josh called his parents and had them drive him all the way back to set so he could drop off the equipment he had picked up.

That’s dedication!

Josh is an inspiration to us all. I’m sure most of us would have just gone home and said “fuck this shit!” But Josh believes in this project enough to literally risk life and limb to see it through to the end. Not only that, when he’s not building something or running an errand or standing in as a extra, he’s filming all the behind-the-scenes goings on for a documentary on the production of C-47. And he’s doing so without pants! One of his extra roles required him to stand around in nothing but tight ass boxer briefs. In between takes, he was walking around with just a t-shirt that covered up most of the boxers. So here’s this guy walking around set with no pants on filming a documentary! Priceless. I expect much more pantless documentary film making this coming weekend.

So here’s to Josh, the Invincible Pantless PA! You, sir, are an inspiration.

Green Screen is a Fickle Bitch Goddess

We have a website! Head on over to C-47.tv to get a copy of the pitch packet that was sent out to investors to entice them to give us stacks of the cash. I did a most of the concept art and sketches contained within. Give it a peek to see what the world of C-47 is like.

Before I bitch a moan about green screen, I promised a menu break down. Free food always tastes good. Breakfast for Friday consisted of bagels and donuts. Lunch was french fries, Greek salad, and a variety of wraps. Unfortunately, there was little choice for vegetarians except for the salad which was decimated in mere minutes. No dinner on set which made me sad panda so me, Mason (our director), and Nelly (of Morlock Enterprises) hit up a local diner. It’s important to remind your director to eat, otherwise he will go madly insane. Saturday breaky was bagels and muffins. Lunch was Indian food. Honestly, I think we should have Indian everyday for lunch. It helps put us all in the mind set to be shooting in future India. And it’s damn yummy! We ran super late on Saturday so they bought us pizza. I was playing an extra that day and we drove the costume people nuts by eating greasy pizza in an all-white costume. But never fear, if I know one thing I know how to eat me some pizza! Sunday morning was much of the same, bagels and cream cheese with various fruit. Apples are a great snack to keep you from starving during the day. Lunch was a stir fried chicken and rice thing for the cast and crew. The extras got pizza! And I think they also got hot dogs. Oh, and they got better drinks than us! So some of us kinda snuck over to the extra’s coral and stole some drinks. No dinner on set so we scourged what was left of the chicken rice stuff.

Okay, on to green screen. This show is the first time many of us have ever set up a damn green screen. Friday, we had to build a green screen room with 10×20 ft green screen sheets. Fabric is affordable, but it also wrinkles like a mother fucker. If you try to key out a background that’s wrinkled and shadowed, you’re going to get streaks which means you’re going to have to rotoscope frame-by-frame which means you’re going to blow your deadline. Boo! For some reason, we built the thing on a curve. I don’t remember why and it’s really not important. The problem was the bottom edge. No matter how tight we stretched it or how many times we ran the steamer over that bottom edge, those wrinkles would not come out. The medium shots that we took that day were perfect for what we needed. But the wides where you could see the wrinkles may give us a lot of trouble. Add to that the fact that our principle male lead wears a white costume that picks up some green spill from the screen and you’ve the makings of a long as FX process. OI! We get that footage sometime this week so we’ll know if we have to reshoot anything on the last weekend when we’ll be doing green screen pickups.

Saturday was a long fucking day. By the time we got to the shot where we needed some green screen, we were short on time. Fortunately, we were using a green painted box and a length of green felt, neither of which had wrinkles. However, there’s an big shadow seam where the green box overlays the green felt. And we have massive shadows from the actor. The problem is that the lighting had to absolutely match the shot we were compositing into so I don’t really see how we could have gotten rid of the shadows. I’m hoping that we can pull multiple green keys off of this stuff. *fingers crossed*

After two days of pulling hairs and yelling at each other, we took everything we learned from our mistakes and applied them to Sunday’s shoot. Took the lighting guy two hours to get even lighting set up on the green screen because unfortunately, the set was built too close to the screen. This made it difficult to place lights properly so that the screen could be lit evenly without worrying about shadows cast from actors. Set elements also created massive shadow, but some how, he managed to ninja a solution that worked really well. As for the wrinkles, the set designer grabbed some spare wood to weigh down the bottom edge and pull it tight. This flattened out all the wrinkles, no steaming required! Oh man, it’s going to be so easy to pull a good key from the stuff we shot Sunday. Then the tricky part begins where we add in virtual elements to build out the rest of the temple.

This week begins the 96 hours of hell. The major set pieces must be torn down an converted into one gigantic market place that will be extended. There will be people mulling about and they’ll need to be walking in front of, you guessed it, a green screen. But we’ve learned a great deal. We’re giving the lighting crew ten feet to work with so they can evenly light our screen. This means the set folk have less to build which makes them happy. And we now know how to get rid of those shitty wrinkles. As difficult as I think the set build will be, I think we’ll get the green screen setup right this time. Well, as right as we can get it until we learn something else about the Fickle Bitch Green Screen Goddess.

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